By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but the Moffat County Bulldogs football team seems to be on a mission to rewrite that theory.
After 10 strikes this season, Coach John Haddan has seen his seniors plagued with injury.
The underclassmen found they weren't immune to being struck with injuries Tuesday, when in a practice junior wing-back/defensive back Eric Bastow suffered a separated shoulder an injury that will keep him out indefinitely possibly for the season.
"It was when I was playing defensive back that I hurt myself," Bastow said. "I went in for a tackle, and my arm got forced back in the group that was making the tackle."
Bastow's influence was mostly felt on the offensive side of the ball, as the team's second leading rusher with 337 yards on the season.
The loss of Bastow means the Bulldogs will have to rely more on an already pressured leading rusher, senior quarterback Mike Charchalis, who has rumbled for 530 yards this season. The loss will also put added responsibility on the two remaining wing backs, senior Ryan Linsacum and junior Joel Browning; The two have combined for a total of 126 yards on the year.
"We've just got to keep finding the best eleven to play for us after each injury," Haddan said. "The team's just got to stay as positive as it can, and keep moving forward."
The Bulldogs will be missing the additional yards Bastow could have produced this Friday when they hit the road to take on the Delta Panthers (3-4).
The Panthers are a team whose record doesn't reflect how dangerous they are. In games against two of the Western Slope Conference's top teams, Delta has risen to the occasion by playing excellent football against both; the Palisade Panthers and the Rifle Bears, losing by seven and eight points, respectively.
"They're definitely a good team, and have played some close games this season," Haddan said. "And, I believe they are still in the running to get a spot for the playoffs."
In addition to boasting one the conference's fastest receivers, the Panthers have effectively used the option to rack up 895 rushing yards this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers line up in a 4-4 front, a system which they have implemented for many years.
The Bulldogs will stick to business as usual on both sides of the ball, and worry about finding the right personnel to create a volatile mixture. But the healthy players will have to overcome their biggest challenge mental distress caused by the rash of injuries.
"We've had to put a lot of guys in that are less experienced, and have made them learn the system quicker because of the injuries" Browning said. "Really, it's been more of a mental issue rather than a physical one we've just got to stay up."